Assay of Bacillus cereus Emetic toxin produced in orange squash

Keywords: Bacillus cereus, emetic toxin, chicken liver mitochondria, orange squash, vacuolar assay, antibodies


The contamination of squash by B. cereus, an enterotoxin producer, was found to range between 7.5×104  and 1.8×104 CFU/g in orange squash (during storage), that is hazardous. Orange squash is widely produced and consumed in India, but has a low rating of 3 on the scale of 10 (on feedback), mostly due to high sugars, not preferred these days. It can be preserved for >9 months due to added sugars and preservatives. During processing squash, if juice is not quickly cooled and/or squash is kept for long at temperatures <48 °C after processing, it can be a source of food poisoning. Reason, a large number of toxins can be produced by B. cereus. B. cereus strains, isolated from squash, produce heat stable toxin. Vacuolar assay confirmed them as emetic toxins, produced in squash. The toxin behaved like an ionophore in assay using mitochondria, extracted from liver cells of chicken with potassium ions in buffer. The toxicity of toxin by assay was 3200 IU/ng (BC IV strain) and 800 IU/ng (BC X strain). By the vacuolar expansions of mitochondria in assay, toxins of B. cereus demonstrated a toxic effect, in the range of 20.93 to 60.94 % by BC IV toxin and 43.28 to 45.02 % by BC X toxin, on the 3rd day growth of B. cereus in squash and toxin extraction for assay. It was also possible to produce antibodies against the B. cereus whole cell and toxin of BC IV, as an attempt to detect B. cereus contaminations in foods, by Ouchterlony’s immune-diffusion test


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Author Biographies

Sunita Singh, Indian Agricultural Research Institute

Division of Food Science and Post-harvest Technology

Prachi Lad, Indegene Private Limited

Department of Promotional & Medical Review Solutions (for AstraZeneca, USA.)


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How to Cite
Singh, S., & Lad, P. (2021). Assay of Bacillus cereus Emetic toxin produced in orange squash. EUREKA: Life Sciences, (2), 41-55.
Food Science and Technology